Client: Department of Education, Western Australia
Location: Burns Beach (Perth), Australia
Completion date: 2021
‘Do Sheep Dream of the Sea?’ is Elisa Markes-Young’s creative response to the history and stories of Burns Beach in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia.
The artwork consists of 13 sculptures placed throughout the Burns Beach Primary School grounds. With their curved lines, peaks, slopes, horizontal ridges and triangular shapes the pieces are suggestive of sails, tents and hang gliders.
To enhance this effect and to create the perception of airy lightness, the main colour of the artworks is white. On the white background colourful, cloud-like forms are painted. Green for the bush and tent canvas. Blue for the sea and the sky. Gold for the sunsets, and here and there orange for its sheer joy and playfulness.
From these colourful ‘clouds’, line drawings of children’s hands and feet emerge. As if children’s feet were poking out of a tent or dangling from a tree. Hands reach for the sky. Curious eyes peek out at the surrounds. Smiling mouths float across the surfaces. Crimped parts of the ‘sails’ mimic waves. We might even spot a sheep in areas billowing with soft, curved lines and a grey cloud will remind of the Midlands Railway Company that long ago used to own the land on which the school is located.
The work is designed to arouse curiosity. The abstract yet familiar shapes, the line drawings might inspire guessing games, games of association and stories about who’s hidden behind the colourful clouds.
The artist team developed Elisa Markes-Young's ideas in close collaboration with fabricators and suppliers to ensure quality outcomes.
Works are fabricated out of marine-grade aluminium and finished with polyurethane paint to both emulate ceramics and because the school is less than 2km from the coast-line. The soft fall cushioning is to both protect the works and for safety regulation compliance. The largest 'sails' are 2.2m (7ft+) tall.